Local News

Suspicious mail causes fear

Posted September 5, 2013

A suspicious piece of mail caught Joyce Habuda’s attention.

— A suspicious piece of mail caught Joyce Habuda’s attention. It was addressed to Habuda’s 21-year-old-daughter, who was out of town. The envelope was marked “priority,” tracked and insured.

“I was thinking, this has to be something important,” said Habuda, who opened it.

To her dismay, Habuda read that her daughter was supposedly selected as a secret shopper. The letter included a check for $1,600. She was directed to cash the check at her bank and then transfer the money to someone in another country. She could then keep $200 as a payment.

This a cashier check scam disguised as a secret shopper assignment at Western Union. Once the fraudulent check is flagged, the victim is responsible for the entire amount. Complaints online show that people in Mississippi, Virginia and California have all received the same sort of scam via mail. At least two people have fallen for the trick and lost big money.

Habuda wants to spread the word; she knows that her daughter could have fallen victim. She admits that if her daughter would have been the one to open the envelope, she would have marched right down to the bank and cashed the check.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • MonkeyFace Sep 10, 2013

    defense 101: call the issuing bank (if it's a cashier's check or offical check) or the company that issued the check. NEVER go by the numbers give to you. Even 800's can be faked. Google the company, go to 411.com. Common sense

  • MonkeyFace Sep 10, 2013

    this is nothing new people. its been going on for many years. secret shopper is just one of the many ways they try and get you.

  • Ex-Republican Sep 6, 2013

    I don't feel very sympathetic for extremely gullible people. Come on now, use your brain!

  • 678devilish Sep 6, 2013

    She should have given this check to the local police or simply destroy the check. This is how greedy people get scam. It happens all the time.

  • CenterRight Sep 6, 2013

    So even thought this lady did discover a scam, is she still not wrong opening mail not addressed to her?

  • OpenM1nd Sep 6, 2013

    A similar scam is when someone offers to buy something that you have posted for sale online, only to send you a check that is significantly greater than the amount requested, with instructions to "cash and keep the change for the added shipping charges," and often for things like used bicycles and golf clubs, etc., that are too heavy to ship cost effectively.

  • superman Sep 6, 2013

    People dont have to know about "scams". Just a little common sense. Please--no one is going to send you money not even your Mother. And furthermore if you loan money to a friend or relative--you ain't gonna get it back either.

  • tuckerbrian54 Sep 6, 2013

    This happened to me recently, only it was for Budweiser and thru Career Builder, sending me a $1900. check thru Fed Ex next day, .... wow, the money these scammers will spend to get nothing in return, I reported this to Bud and Career.

  • billfranrichardson Sep 6, 2013

    "Whatelseisnew", that is an unfair statement about a greedy person responding to scams. There are a lot of folks who don't even know about scams, and may be desperate for extra money. If the media can keep this type of warning available to us, then more people will be more knowledgeable about this type of activity. Glad this lady was vigilent about her daughter's mail.

  • kwierzel Sep 6, 2013

    Never cash a check from a stranger. It's kind of like never taking candy from a stranger.
    Many of these types of scams are deliberately transparent. The scammers figure if you're gullible enough to fall for the same old scam that's been in the news, you're gullible enough to give them even more money.